Monday, the world's largest automaker announced that it will cut 30,000 jobs. G-M Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner announced Monday morning that the Janesville plant is not closing. The plants targeted for closure are in Oklahoma, Michigan, Tennessee, Georgia and Canada. Our area plant in Janesville opened in 1919, making it G-M's oldest facility. It churns out some 1,200 SUV’s a day, four days a week. G-M says 30,000 manufacturing jobs are to be cut as part of an effort to bring production in line with demand. The cuts, designed to save 7 billion dollars by next year come on the heels of a disastrous October when "sales" at G-M sank 26%. The once mighty auto giant has lost nearly 5 billion dollars this year and seen it's stock tank more than 40%.
The one plant once on G-M’s hit list managed to escape. Now finally G-M workers have a reason to be positive. UAW President Mike Sheridan says, "It could have been us. We feel very fortunate that were are not on that list."
UAW Local 95 President Mike Sheridan represents the 3,000 workers whose job has been saved. Sheridan says everyone knew that they could have been off the assembly line and in the unemployment line. But despite all the odds Sheridan said no one factored in the great relationship the union and management have. Sheridan says, "I think that’s the biggest reason that we proved all the analysts wrong."
Carolyn Markey, Communications Manager for the G-M plant in Janesville states, "We focused on things that are important to us and that can help us in the long term future."
This week the plant is temporarily shut down only to get ready for a bigger and better launch with a new product line set to be up and running in January. Markey says, "We're getting ready to launch the new GMT-900 line-up, new line-up of full sized SUV's very important to general motors." Sheridan states, “This new vehicle it is sharp looking vehicle and we are expecting big results they are already expecting a lot of overtime at Janesville." All the extra hours mean workers will not only need a break but have money to spend. And day in and out this nearby Citgo gas station counts on G-M workers. Manager Angie Zahn says, "Shift changes in the early morning or at night we catch them all."
Zahn hopes to see those familiar faces long into the future. Over the past two years g-m invested $175 million in the Janesville plant.